Tart cherry tuna salad

This simple tuna salad has some taste surprises

Bernie Mason, for Lee Montana Newspapers

The fourth annual Farm, Fork, Families Farm-to-Table Benefit Dinner for the Young Families Early Head Start Program in Billings, was held Sept. 9 at the Swift River Ranch. Prior to the serving of the dinner, those attending the event were invited to taste a selection of foods prepared by six area chefs. They also had the opportunity to receive a copy of the recipes and visit with the chefs on how they could prepare the foods themselves at home. I am sharing some of the recipes with you so you can enjoy the flavors as well.

Jackie Rump, Yellowstone County Extension Agent, provided the sampling of a healthy and simple-to-make tuna salad that had been a popular selection with her students in a “Cooking for One or Two” class she had taught this spring.

Tart Cherry Tuna Salad Avocado Bowl

(Serves: 1)


½ medium avocado, diced

4 ounces albacore tuna, canned in oil

1 heaping tablespoon dried tart cherries

1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Serve salad in the hollowed-out avocado bowl or if you prefer, serve over lettuce and add your favorite dressing.

Source: Jackie found this recipe on the following website: Kristina LaRue at www.loveandzest.com.

The Blackened Caesar salad prepared by Bill Manske, chef and owner of Rimrock Plumbing, was a big hit with those attending the dinner. The rub may look like it contains a lot of ingredients, but it is quick to assemble and can be used for other meats as well. The typical Caesar Salad dressing contains raw eggs, but the food safety concern can be solved by using pasteurized eggs.

Blackened Salmon Caesar Salad

(Serves 4)

For salmon:


2 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons salt

4 (4-ounce) boned skinless salmon fillets

Nonstick cooking spray


Mix seasonings in a bowl. Pat the salmon dry; coat thoroughly with seasonings, pressing into fish. Spray both sides of the fish with non-stick cooking spray after coating. Cook fillets in a non-stick or cast iron skillet, on a grill, or under a broiler for 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Turn halfway through cooking. Set aside to rest.

For Caesar Salad:


6 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 large pasteurized egg yolks

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Fresh ground black pepper

3 romaine hearts, leaves separated

½ cup shaved parmesan, for topping


Chop together the anchovy, garlic, and salt. Mash into a paste and scrape into a medium bowl. Whisk in egg yolks, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and mustard. Adding drop by drop to start, gradually whisk in olive oil, then vegetable oil; whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. Whisk in parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and more lemon juice if desired. Tear romaine leaves into 1-2-inch pieces. Using a rubber spatula, gently toss the lettuce, croutons, (recipe follows) and dressing. Portion out on plates and top with shaved parmesan and salmon.

Croutons: Tear enough Italian country bread into ¾-inch cubes to make 3 cups. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss bread with 3 tablespoons olive oil to coat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cayenne, along with some salt and pepper over the bread cubes and toss. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and bake, tossing occasionally, until golden.

If you have never tried adding herbs to your sugar cookies, I would encourage you to try this recipe for sugar cookies which has the addition of lavender buds. Carolyn Story, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher with the Absarokee Schools as well as a professional chef, raises a variety of herbs at her family farm in Park City. She provided samples of a wonderful Lemon Lavender Pound Cake, along with her Lavender Sugar Cookies. Crushing the lavender buds releases the aroma of the lavender and makes a fine powder.

Lavender Sugar Cookies


1 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoon crushed lavender buds (crush with mortar & pestle)

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the yolks and beat until blended. Add the lavender. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the creamed sugar and butter mixture. Beat until well mixed. Use a #30 (2 tablespoons) or #60 size (1 tablespoon) scoop to portion the dough. Roll each ball of dough in sugar and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges of cookies begin to brown. Cool on wire rack.


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